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Obama's Remarks with Russian & Chinese Leaders

Obama's Remarks with Russian & Chinese Leaders

The White House - April 1, 2009

Remarks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Winfield House

London, United Kingdom

1:01 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me just make a brief comment. I am very grateful to President Medvedev for taking the time to visit with me today. I'm particularly gratified because prior to the meeting our respective teams had worked together and had developed a series of approaches to areas of common interest that I think present great promise.

As I've said in the past, I think that over the last several years the relationship between our two countries has been allowed to drift. And what I believe we've begun today is a very constructive dialogue that will allow us to work on issues of mutual interest, like the reduction of nuclear weapons and the strengthening of our nonproliferation treaties; our mutual interest in dealing with terrorism and extremism that threatens both countries; our mutual interest in economic stability and restoring growth around the world; our mutual interest in promoting peace and stability in areas like the Middle East.

So I am very encouraged by the leadership of the President. I'm very grateful that he has taken the time to visit. I am especially excited about the fact that the President extended an invitation for me to visit Moscow to build on some of the areas that we discussed on today. And I have agreed to visit Moscow in July, which we both agreed was a better time than January to visit.

And my hope is that given the constructive conversations that we've had today, the joint statements that we will be issuing both on reductions of nuclear arsenals, as well as a range of other areas of interest, that what we're seeing today is the beginning of new progress in the U.S.-Russian relations. And I think that President Medvedev's leadership is -- has been critical in allowing that progress to take place.

So thank you very much.

PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: (As translated.) I would like to sincerely thank President Obama for this opportunity to meet him and to meet this time in person. And, indeed, we had an opportunity to compare our views on the current relations and current situation in the world. And we had an opportunity to agree upon certain common values that we need to foster in our relations, and provide for further areas for cooperation in progression of our relations.

I can only agree that the relations between our countries have been adrift over the past years. As President Obama has said, they were drifting, and drifting in some wrong directions. They were degrading, to some extent.

That is why we believe that since such a situation was not to the benefit of the United States or Russia Federation, to say nothing about the global situation, we believe that the time has come to reset our relations, as it was said, and to open a new page in progression in the development of our common situation.

Indeed, it was said that we are prepared to cooperate further in such areas as the nonproliferation of WMDs limitation of strategic weapons, countering terrorism, and improving economic and financial situation and the overall economic situation in the world.

It is important to note that there are many points on which we can work. And indeed there are far more points in which we can -- where we can come closer, where we can work, rather than those points on which we have differences. Thus, by bringing our positions closer we can attain significant progress and, much more importantly, further our achievements.

I share the view of President Obama who said that our teams have worked really well in preparation of this meeting, and the declarations, the two declarations, which we are adopting are just another proof of that. And those are a declaration on the strategic weapons, and the declaration on the general framework of relations between Russia and the United States, which set good grounds for our further interaction.

We will be very glad to host President Obama, to greet him in Moscow in July. Indeed, July is the warmest time in Russia and in Moscow, and I believe that will be exactly the feature of the talks and relations we are going to enjoy during that period in Moscow. And of course we have set out certain objectives and certain goals and tasks we need to work through in order to get better prepared for this meeting. And indeed I am convinced that is a good opportunity for this interaction.

Well, indeed, so we are convinced that we'll continue successfully our contacts, in particular today, where we were not only discussing international issues or bilateral items of interaction; we were also discussing education, which probably not everybody -- where we have come to an understanding that we're reading the same textbooks while in these subjects. And this will set us further for interaction.

After this meeting, I am far more optimistic about the successful development of our relations, and would like to thank President Obama for this opportunity.

END 1:14 P.M. (Local)

Remarks with Chinese President Hu Jintao

Winfield House

London, United Kingdom

2:24 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I just want to welcome President Hu and thank him for extending himself to come to visit and allowing us to have our first face to face conversation.

Obviously China is a great power. It has a long and extraordinary history. The relationship between the United States and China has become extremely constructive. Our economic relationships are very strong. And I've said publicly, and I continue to believe, that the relationship between China and the United States is not only important for the citizens of both our countries, but will help to set the stage for how the world deals with a whole host of challenges in the years to come.

So I'm looking forward to a very productive and open conversation about not only the state of the world economy during this time of crisis, but also know we can work cooperatively together to improve peace and security for both nations and the world at large.

I believe that as strong as our relationship already is, I am confident that we can make it even stronger in the years to come.

PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) I'm very happy to have this opportunity to meet with President Obama. It's our first face to face meeting.

Since President Obama took office we have secured a good beginning in the growth of this relationship. President Obama and I stayed in close touch, and foreign ministers of our two countries have exchanged visits in a short span of time.

In addition, the two sides both have reached agreement on the characterization of the China-U.S. relationship in this new era and on the mechanism of the strategic economic dialogues. These results have not come easily, which deserve our both sides' efforts to cherish.

And as President Obama rightly said just now, sound China-U.S. relationship is not only in the fundamental interest of our two peoples and our two countries, but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asian Pacific region and in the world at large.

The Chinese side is willing to work together with the U.S. side to secure even greater progress in the development of the China-U.S. relationship, and I'm willing to establish a good working relationship and personal friendship with President Obama.

I'm sure my meeting with President Obama today will be positive and productive.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: If I'm not mistaken we're going to have our respective representatives on the strategic and economic dialogue appear with us, so that everybody knows who's going to be talking.

So these high-level ministers will be charged with working in a very detailed and constructive way on issues of mutual interest to our two countries. And we are very grateful to President Hu for designating such distinguished ministers who are going to be working very constructively with Tim Geithner, my Secretary of Treasury, as well as Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State.

Thank you very much.

The White House

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